Carol is one of my regular clients and when she was in last Thursday, she was telling me her parents have just moved into an in-law suite attached to her home. She went on to ask if there were any concerns or special benefits of massage for seniors. Here’s what I shared with Carol…
Massage for seniors has the same benefits it does for the rest of us, but you must be sure to discuss your complete medical situation with your therapist BEFORE starting any treatment.
Massage Techniques For Seniors
The modalities and massage techniques used when working with senior citizens can and should vary significantly from those I would use on a younger client. So it’s essential for me to take the time to discuss any special needs or concerns a senior may have before we start.
Massage therapy for seniors should focus on gentle stroking, kneading and applying appropriate pressure on specific points. Studies conducted by the Touch Research Institute conclude that massage increases communication and relaxation, explaining that it can therefore be an effective therapy for Alzheimer’s patients.
Health, Wellness & Balance
Massage can be an invaluable element of a well-planned and balanced health and wellness program for seniors. Regular massage is an excellent way to avoid or at least delay the need for pharmaceutical solutions. Massage is known to improve circulation, reduce stress and can improve overall mobility. That in turn improves general quality of life helping seniors function better physically and mentally, which leaves them feeling younger and more balanced.
There’s no doubt that massage promotes joint lubrication to help manage both pain and alleviate the stiffness often associated with arthritis and other age related issues.
When working with senior citizens I like to incorporate some stretching into our massage routine. By applying gentle pressure on joints, muscles and soft tissue areas I am able to help clients safely enjoy maximum benefit from their massage.
Finding that balance between age appropriate activity and a healthy lifestyle certainly seems to become more of a challenge as we age. From the reading I’ve done on the subject, there’s no doubt in my mind that inactivity as we age is linked not only to poor physical health but also to an increase in depression. Together, they often seem to lead to or exacerbate other age-related conditions as well.
Reducing Anxiety & Better Sleep
Among the many benefits of massage for seniors are increased range of motion, muscle strength and improved circulation. Many of my senior clients also tell me they generally feel less anxious, tense and are therefore able to enjoy a longer, deeper night’s sleep.
There is plenty of evidence to support the theory that we all benefit from longer, deeper sleep as it gives our body the truly restful sleep it needs to repair and regenerate. When our minds and bodies are properly rested, we not only feel better generally, we often feel more energized and so we’re able to participate in activities that help fight many conditions associated with both age and inactivity.
By adjusting and adapting therapies specifically for senior massage, we can gently and carefully manipulate the body, which allows seniors to remain active and engaged stimulating both the mind and spirit. So regular massage for seniors will help you achieve the balance we should all be striving for most especially as we age.
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